You may have noticed the USDA organic label popping up left and right in grocery stores across the country over the last decade. The products are tagged with a verified sticker that usually also means increased prices. I remember the first time I walked down the grocery aisle and noticed that the organic and non-organic bananas were displayed side by side. Organic and non-organic produce should never be displayed next to each other because of the risk of cross contact. But I was also shocked that the non-organic bananas were twice the size of the organic bananas. How could this even be the same product? The answer is in the growing process and in the plant that is being grown.
So what is organic farming, and why does it cost more?
The USDA defines organic agriculture as a system that integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that promote resource recycling, ecological balance and biodiversity. Essentially, both plant and animal based food items labeled organic are made without unnatural chemicals such as pesticides, artificial fertilizers, antibiotics, or growth hormones. But the organic farming process doesn’t stop there. Organic farmers use an important process that also ensure soil and water quality, reduces pollution, provides humane livestock conditions, and most importantly promotes a sustainable farming process. This process helps protect our environment, and produces a natural product, free of unhealthy chemicals or byproducts.
The organic farming process is more involved due to the need for crop rotation and smaller batch farming. Organic farming also involves the use of non-genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are used to increase yield per crop acre and engineer protections against weed and insect life. They have become a huge controversy in the agricultural world due to the environmental, ethical, and political problems associated with GMO use in large scale cropping.
Growing evidence connects GMOs with health problems and environmental damage, and most countries worldwide choose not to use GMOs in their agricultural industry. Limited evidence is based on the direct effects of GMOs, however, the widespread prediction is that research will show negative health effects due to GMO consumption. The use of GMOs in America to increase crop yields explains why the non-organic banana I found in the supermarket was so much larger than the organic banana. It had been genetically modified. Plants and livestock are being scientifically altered to provide larger yields. Scientists design GMOs in a lab by changing the genetic makeup of the plant or animal’s DNA sequence.
Organic farming places an emphasis on the natural and unaltered way of agriculture, promoting and improving upon methods of growth and sustainability that have been around for centuries. The use of GMOs disrupts the environmental cycle by disturbing needed insect populations and sparking the emergence of super weeds and super bugs that can only be killed through more toxic poisons.
Why Eat Organic/Non-GMO food?
Organic and non-GMO farming benefits the environment and smaller farmers as well as the consumers who enjoy the health advantages of eating more naturally. With the growing demand for organic and non-GMO foods, farmers are busier than ever. Organic farming promotes taking care of the environment and decreasing byproducts created by pesticides and unnatural fertilizers. Organic farmers use natural methods of weed and insect control, and promote soil health by rotating crops. You can have peace of mind feeding your family organic products, knowing that they are free of poisons or unnatural by products. Incorporating an organic and non-GMO diet into your lifestyle ensures you are eating the most natural and fresh foods available that are rich with the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy living.
The driving motivation behind our company and family of apps was to address the hours wasted and the confusion caused by trying to decipher labels to determine if a product fits within your dietary needs and preferences. The Now Find Organic & Non-GMO app makes it easy to search for foods that fit your needs with ease and accuracy. You may notice the USDA Organic verification label throughout your local grocery aisles, but it also helps to understand what is required of a product to earn this label.
The USDA uses four classification categories to determine if a product is considered organic. The four categories are determined by percentage of organic content in a product, with levels at 100%, 95%, 70% and less than 70%. For a product to earn the USDA Organic verification label, it must be at least 95% organic. Similarly, non –GMO labeled products go through a verification process by The Non-GMO Project, a non-governmental organization aimed at protecting and growing the non-GMO food supply within the agriculture industry.
All products labeled USDA Organic are by requirement also non-GMO. Many companies still seek non-GMO verification however because the Non-GMO Projects fights for both farmer and environmental protections. The Now Find Organic & Non-GMO app can help provide a seamless shopping experience for your organic lifestyle by enabling you to create shopping lists of all the USDA Organic and non-GMO verified products that you need.
Information about Organic and Non-GMO eating can be found at nowfindorganic.com along with delicious recipes for you to try, so that you will always feel like you have a place to start your organic, non-GMO journey.
You can find our free app in both the Apple and Google Play stores for use on your smart device.